Jill Valentine seems to always be on the short end of the stick when it comes to the Resident Evil franchise. Her dialog in the first Resident Evil game is so contrived and almost as brainless as the zombies she’s killing. She doesn’t appear in the second game, Code: Veronica, nor the fourth installment. Hell, Chris reveals right in the beginning of the fifth Resident Evil title that she DIED before that games events transpired. But before Jill faded into an obscurity that she didn’t deserve (her MvC2 appearance was more fluff than anything), there was Resident Evil 3: Nemesis — a RE title that tried to change up a few of the already tired and true aspects of the first two games, and not only succeeds, but infuses more of a fear factor and suspense than the first two title combined.
Resident Evil 3 succeeds with a few gameplay elements added in, including a quick 180 degree turn., which seems to have slowed down in speed during future installments. This maneuver ends up being an invaluable tool in your escape from the brainless zombies and other evils you’ll encounter during your attempted escape. Then there’s the dodge moves, where you can dodge an oncoming zombie from nibbling your neck with a correct button press at the correct time. Situational at times, but a welcome addition. Throughout the game, you’ll come across moments where you’ll have to choose what to do next, usually involving the hulking behemoth Nemesis chasing you down. Being able to choose between a set number of options adds to the experience, as you feel that you can almost craft the story you want out of your experience. This somewhat makes up for the fact that Jill Valentine is the only character you can choose a the beginning of the game, and leads up to experimentation down the line, trying different options after you beat the game.
Another successful element that was not only the first appearance but the last as well, was the Reloading Tool. This device, in conjunction with Gun Powder you’ll come across, will help create ammunition for your weapons, whether it be handgun bullets, grenade rounds, or even magnum rounds. The flexibility is apparent, as you can work towards compiling more acid grenade rounds into your inventory, or for a quick fix, some handgun rounds. It helped fill the void for the lack of ammo pick ups throughout the game.
Probably the biggest compliment one can give RE3 is the fact that there’s a ton of suspense to it. Maybe the fact that I’ve previously never played more than a hour of this installment has to do with it, but there’s a sense of tension and unease that I’ve only felt during Code Veronica. The music stings here and there add to that uncertainty vibe, and along with the grittier, more detailed environment than the previous two RE titles, you can feel the suspense through the hairs on your forearms.
To be honest, there’s not a lot to be up in arms over. With the only additions to the controls being the useful 180 spin as well as dodging enemy attacks, no other functionality changes were introduced to make the tank-like controls less stiff and robotic. Throughout the series, there’s been little to no change to the mechanics of the game in order to make them feel less rigid and more fluid, which can be annoying at times, especially for games with an identity crisis, such as Resident Evil 5 (more on that later this week). Also, this game can be a lot more difficult than the first two titles combined, even on easy mode, which sets you up with a plethora of ammo and guns in your trunk, not to mention infinite ink ribbons.
I guess its fitting to say that Jill Valentine’s second and last appearance as a playable character in the Resident Evil series (not counting anything 5 vomited up), ends up being one of the most enjoyable installments. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis manages to do mostly everything right, with almost nothing going against it. The suspense is plentiful, the graphics are the best of the series on the system, the 180 degree turn helps heaps, and it’s a pretty difficult game, even on easy mode. One of the most underrated games on the Sony PlayStation, and definitely a chapter in the Resident Evil saga that you shouldn’t miss. It’s a shame the character mechanics are still painfully stiff.